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Gameplay: the Missing Ingredient In Most Games 308

Posted by Soulskill
from the customers-love-in-game-currencies-and-spamming-their-friends dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Game designer Tadhg Kelly has an article discussing the direction the games industry has taken over the past several years. Gaming has become more of a business, and in doing so, become more of a science as well. When maximizing revenue is a primary concern, development studios try to reduce successful game designs to individual elements, then naively seek to add those elements to whatever game they're working on, like throwing spices into a stew. Kelly points out that indie developers who are willing to experiment often succeed because they understand something more fundamental about games: fun. Quoting: 'The guy who invented Minecraft (Markus "Notch" Persson) didn't just create a giant virtual world in which you could make stuff, he made it challenging. When Will Wright created the Sims, he didn't just make a game about living in a virtual house. He made it difficult to live successfully. That's why both of those franchises have sold millions of copies. The fun factor is about more than making a game is amusing or full of pretty rewards. If your game is a dynamic system to be mastered and won, then you can go nuts. If you can give the player real fun then you can afford to break some of those format rules, and that's how you get to lead rather than follow the market. If not then be prepared to pay through the nose to acquire and retain players.'"
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Gameplay: the Missing Ingredient In Most Games

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  • No silly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @06:35AM (#42085977)

    Gameplay is what happens when you play the game.
    Duh.

    • Re:No silly (Score:5, Informative)

      by kthreadd (1558445) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @06:40AM (#42085989)

      Gameplay is what happens when you play the game.
      Duh.

      Sure but the article was about that there should also be more to a game than just "doing stuff".

      • Re:No silly (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @06:55AM (#42086039)

        I thought most games these days were just ego wankery of some shape or form where you press E to win because you are the toughest hardest space marine that ever lived.

        To be honest this has been coming for a long while. Gameplay has been sorely lacking, especially around the switch from 2D->3D games. My own personal definition of "gameplay" is the extent and delay at which the user's physical input has direct relevance in the game.

        So a game like gunstar heroes would have more gameplay than contra because the characters in contra have no ability to throw enemies or use hand to hand combat.
        A game where character animations take a long period of time to execute after player input also would have less gameplay, in my opinion, since my input can not change the state of the game whilst this animation is being played.

        In this respect although Super Mario 64 was probably the 3D game I've played with the most gameplay, it still has less gameplay than Super Mario World. I don't think anyone has been able to replicate the feeling of jumping on 6 koopas in a row whilst holding a red shell in a full 3D playing field.

        I would like to see that though.

        • Re:No silly (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dadioflex (854298) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:05AM (#42086609)
          I think you're doing a good job of showcasing that gameplay, like art, is in the eye of the beholder. From your point of view gameplay is missing compared to older games. From my point of view, and I say this as someone who died a million times playing Jet Set Willy, the gameplay was missing from the older games. I actually WANT easier games where I can stroll through them, see everything, collect everything and then move on having felt I got my money's worth. Basically I want a game that rewards perseverance without demanding skill. I skew older on the gamer age chart, but I'm trending towards the norm.

          Super Mario World used about half a dozen buttons and was, to an extent, a skinner box that drummed patterns into your head. I appreciate that you have every right to think that it has better gameplay than, say, Darksiders 2, but I really can't share that opinion.
          • Re:No silly (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Hatta (162192) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:00AM (#42086859) Journal

            Basically I want a game that rewards perseverance without demanding skill.

            How is merely putting in time rewarding? In RPGs that's derisively called "grinding". There's no sense of accomplishment when you finish such a game, as there was never any doubt you could do it.

            • by Kjella (173770)

              There's a pretty big difference between games that have a hard skill requirements, like you failed mission X so try again - it'll be just as hard next time - and those where you can just gather more XP, get some better gear and so with perseverance the mission will get easier. You're in principle always making progress, there's no hard fail but you choose you own level of challenge. Grinding on the other hand typically describes doing something with no challenge, for the sake of gathering resources or equip

            • Re:No silly (Score:5, Insightful)

              by loufoque (1400831) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:59PM (#42088379)

              A lot of role-playing games are simply based on storytelling, and do not require skill. That's true even for table-top role-playing games.
              It's not grinding either, you're just enjoying exploring and interacting with an imaginary world.

            • by Darinbob (1142669)

              You may not find any sense of accomplishment, but I am positive that some players do. Every player is different. Some just want to come home from the office, turn off the brain, and enjoy a game. Other players can't have fun if things are mindless though. Thus there is room for two different games, or two different styles within the same game, as long as one group isn't bashing the other group. (sadly, some players find the most enjoyment from mocking others)

      • Re:No silly (Score:5, Insightful)

        by robthebloke (1308483) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @07:03AM (#42086057)

        Sure but the article was about that there should also be more to a game than just "doing stuff".

        Nope. You use metrics to analyse your freemium game to graph tedium against profit. If you make it just tedious enough, people will hopefully pay some money to avoid actually playing your game. Welcome to the modern approach to game design :/

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Jetra (2622687)
        I would like to post a couple of very interesting links

        http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/beyond-fun [penny-arcade.com]
        http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.necessarygames.com%2Fmy-games%2Floneliness%2Fflash&ei=qP-xUJWwF-m6yAHEhIAw&usg=AFQjCNF2Ja0DJ6wMb55AkI_4DPdjLDZU1w [google.com]

        He makes some very interesting arguments against making games purely for the sake of "Fun." Does the game really have to be about fun? Look at Indigo Proph
        • Re:No silly (Score:4, Insightful)

          by somersault (912633) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:45AM (#42086321) Homepage Journal

          What you're talking about aren't games, they're more simply interactive art pieces to enjoy.

          Games should be fun.

          • by dadioflex (854298)
            Some people's idea of fun is to look at art. You're making the mistake of assuming everyone is the same. You might like Psychonauts, say, a colourful platformer with a wacky story and some quite challenging puzzle jumping. I might enjoy the Walking Dead game which is little more that an interactive movie interspersed with some quick time style events. We both have fun from our game of choice, but may hate playing the other game. We have many points of similarity, but also many differences. Also, I am a bass
          • Games should be fun.

            Games should be *satisfying*. Making them fun is one way to do that, but it's not the only way.

          • by BenoitRen (998927)

            Video games have long stopped being games. They're now, by and large, interactive experiences.

        • Holy google link, batman :D

          Here is the actual link:

          http://www.necessarygames.com/my-games [necessarygames.com]

          And damn, that was depressing. (parent had linked to the game "loneliness") But I see what you are getting at.

        • First of all, Metal Gear is fun and famous precisely because of its gameplay innovations that tend to break the fourth wall. In fact, I think the story has always been quite ridiculous and made very little sense. But that's a matter of personal opinion, I guess.

          While I think games could be more, I wouldn't turn then into mere movies where you have to merely press a button to go forward. And I would never eliminate challenge, because it's not a game if you can't lose, regardless of what we say to children. A

      • Re:No silly (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:32AM (#42086287)

        The irony of this is the Notch quote. Minecraft is just a toy sandbox and has the least gameplay of any game I've ever played.

        Now watch as this gets buried into oblivion by the Minecraft apologists.

        • Re:No silly (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anubis IV (1279820) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:52PM (#42090067)

          I cordially disagree. Minecraft's gameplay (i.e. the rules that dictate how something is played) is subtle, but very present. And it's definitely a game, not just a toy, though it's hard to tell from the outside (I would know, I was a doubter).

          The problem with many pure sandbox games is that they are simply too open-ended. Left with so many possibilities, many players face a paradox of choice [wikipedia.org] and oftentimes cease playing the game before they accomplish anything much. Effectively, there is no "game" to it. It's just a toy, as you said. Kinda like Legos with no instructions. For some people, that's all they want, but there is no gameplay provided in that since there are no rules dictating how you put things together or for what purpose.

          In contrast, Minecraft provides some initial gameplay to get people started, then gives them a structured and intelligently designed path to help them discover their own "emergent" gameplay. By adding hostile monsters to the game, Notch established a basic purpose for the player's actions: build things to survive. Establishing that as the basic rule acting on the player forces the player down the path towards creating a structure to keep them safe from the monsters. Stuck in that place, players naturally expand it and embellish it, which forces them to locate additional resources. To do that, they need to explore either outwards or downwards, either of which will involve challenging the thing that has kept them in their safehouse. And as they explore and find additional resources, they find new things that they don't understand, which forces them to experiment. In all of that, the player's actions have a foundational purpose of survival, but as the game goes on, additional forms of gameplay begin to emerge as players discover and create new rules to guide their actions and purposes for doing what they are doing, be it to create the best city, live for as long as possible, or find the most awesome pieces of terrain.

          The genius in Minecraft is that it naturally leads the player down that path without the player realizing they are being led. To the player, it feels like a set of open-ended decisions in an open-ended world, rather than that they are being led down a path. In reality, their choices were guided by some excellent game design and a subtle application of simple rules to drive the player's actions in a certain direction. From the outside, it just looks like a box of Legos without instructions (and early versions of it were indeed just that), but it's much more than that. The game actually has exactly as much gameplay as it needs, which is to say that it has enough to prevent the paradox of choice but little enough that it allows for a lot of creativity.

          As a quick aside, I don't believe that game difficulty correlates to good gameplay. There are plenty of examples of easy games with good gameplay (Minecraft, Okami, Super Mario Galaxy) just as there are plenty of hard games with great gameplay (Demon's Souls, Ikaruga, Super Mario Bros.). Instead, I believe that gameplay should be tweaked to make a game as difficulty or as easy as is warranted by the game itself. Were Okami frustratingly hard, the Celestial Brush would have become a chore to use, rather than being the charming and exciting gameplay mechanic that it is. Were Demon's Souls too easy, the oppressive environment and epic bosses would have felt trite and unsubstantial, leaving the game hollow.

          I do believe there has been a recent trend to make games easier than is warranted, but that's another topic entirely.

      • Re:No silly (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@NoSPAM.gamerslastwill.com> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @12:22PM (#42087329) Homepage Journal

        Am I the only one who recognizes this as the first volley in the Wii U hearts and minds campaign?

        For years, I've heard Nintendo fanboys ranting about gameplay gameplay gameplay. Because their system never offered anything beyond gameplay.

        Now that news has surfaced about the Wii U being weakly incapable hardware, I feel stories like this are going to be more commonplace.

        It's not just about gameplay. Sometimes there's more than just gameplay. Sometimes a new mechanic placed on an old style of gameplay is enough.

        Sometimes being gorgeous is enough. Sometimes being immersive is enough. And once in a while, you get all of those things together and it makes a truly spectacular game. But those are rare, and I want it to stay that way.

    • Re:No silly (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JMJimmy (2036122) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @07:34AM (#42086151)

      The sentiment behind the OPs comment is accurate. Difficulty != why people play games. Difficulty != fun. Just look at the stats on http://www.trueachievements.com/ [trueachievements.com] and you'll see this article is completely bunk.

      The Sims 3: http://www.trueachievements.com/game.aspx?gameid=3183 [trueachievements.com] 17k own it, less than 9% have completed it.
      Wanted Weapons of Fate: http://www.trueachievements.com/WANTEDWeapons-of-Fate/achievements.htm [trueachievements.com] 17k own it, more than 21% have completed it
      LEGO Rockband: http://www.trueachievements.com/LEGO-Rock-Band/achievements.htm [trueachievements.com] 17k own it, just over 1% have completed it.

      Similarly if you look at games with similar difficulties (by completion %) you get a range from 72 copies to ~60,000 copies.

      If you look at the actual top adoptions for games you see a theme: Great storytelling with great graphics and relatively bug free games. Difficulty is all over the map in the top selling games.

      • by heypete (60671)

        That's a remarkably interesting site. Thanks.

        I find it rather odd that certain story-based games (say, the Mass Effect series) have a modest rate of completion: according to that site, ME1 had 9.07% completion, ME2 12.00%, and ME3 5.33%. I understand the lack of completion of ME3, as there was a bit of controversy about the quality of the ending (or the lack thereof) so I could see people simply not bothering to finish, but it seems odd that the previous two games had such low completion rates -- they're pr

        • Re:No silly (Score:4, Insightful)

          by GuldKalle (1065310) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:16AM (#42086253)

          "Completed" means doing all achievements, not "playing through the story". To me it seems quite natural that if it's the story that carries a game, people are not going to play through it multiple times to unlock every achievement.

          • by bfandreas (603438)
            It'd be interesting to compare how many people got the level 10 achievement, the level 60 achievement and the "I killed Diablo in Inferno and all I got was this lousy T- Shirt" achievement.
            Given the stink Blizzard got over monetizing the un-fun of Diablo 3 game developers need to re-examine what a challenge is. Nowadays it seems to be cheap deaths.

            Or take for instance Assassins Creed. They change the game mechanics so often your head goes dizzy. One time you can kill your mark whichever way you
          • by Jiro (131519)

            A lot of games are set up so that if you want to complete everything in this sense, you have to use a guide. RPGs are particularly bad at this. "Follow this sequence of 10 arbitrary steps on arbitrary maps to get this hidden character". "Defeat this bonus boss, which is pretty much impossible without finding the exact piece of equipment, which is found as a 1 in 200 drop from an enemy on the opposite side of the map".

          • by heypete (60671)

            "Completed" means doing all achievements, not "playing through the story". To me it seems quite natural that if it's the story that carries a game, people are not going to play through it multiple times to unlock every achievement.

            Ah, you're right. I misunderstood the way things were categorized. Thanks for the correction.

          • by JMJimmy (2036122)

            The interesting thing about the "completed" stats is that it shows which games people will go that extra mile for, do multiple playthroughs, etc. There are obvious exceptions like Avatar(ded): The Last Airbender: The Burning Earth - the game takes all of 1:47 seconds to complete all achievements or Fallout 3 PC's addachievement console command.

        • As other replies to your post pointed out, "completed" on that site seems to mean 100% of achievements.

          For example, for Mass Effect 2 the particular achievement that indicates story mode completion is this: http://www.trueachievements.com/a60985/mission-accomplished-achievement.htm [trueachievements.com] .

        • by JMJimmy (2036122)

          Those games are interesting to note pete: ME1 requires 3 playthroughs minimum to complete all achievements and has multiple DLCs which are included in that %. 9% of people bothered to do all of that. ME2 only takes 1 playthrough with multiple DLCs. ME3 takes 1 playthrough and has co-op and multiple DLCs.

          It would seem by this data that people preferred the solo RPG elements of ME1 to the MP shooter elements of ME3. Though it is skewed by time since ME1 is 5 years old and ME3 isn't even a year old yet.

      • by lattyware (934246)
        The Rock Band titles have insane achievements - completing all of them doesn't mean you have completed the game, it means you have mastered it entirely. Completely different.
      • The sentiment behind the OPs comment is accurate. Difficulty != why people play games. Difficulty != fun.

        For a majority of people, maybe. On the other hand, look at Super Meat Boy's stats on Steam. It's nothing but ludicrous difficulty, and yet it has more recommendations from players than Borderlands 2 or Bioshock, games praised by different aspects. Difficulty can be lots and lots of fun, and to illustrate that point I present this very old video of a guy playing a very sadistic Mario hack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPo84-ve7Hk [youtube.com]

        • Super Meat Boy isn't really a counterexample, it's just an example that's both difficult AND fun, as opposed to something like Super Mario Frustration (from the video) which is really only fun because of the funny as hell narration.

          There are different types of difficulty. SMBF is what I call "dickhead difficulty," (for what should be obvious reasons) where Meat Boy is mostly "Tricky difficulty," since once you figure out the right way to do it, it becomes much easier (but not easy) -- though some of the la

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      And how many games AC have YOU played that this sentence would fit? "Graphics looked good, gameplay sucked" because Lord knows i have played a fricking TON of games in the past few years that fit that description. It was one set piece to another set piece being drug by the nose with crappy play mechanics.

      Here let me give a few examples...Bulletstorm, sounds like a winner right? you got the guys that did Painkiller, that was pure fun, hooked up with EA to do their own take on the whole modern shooter genre,

  • Asseditry (Score:2, Informative)

    by Hognoxious (631665)

    The fun factor is about more than making a game is amusing or full of pretty rewards.

    Making sure, or delete the second "is".

  • by Anonymous Cowherd (13230) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @07:23AM (#42086105)

    The article claims that these games are popular because they are hard but it seems that nobody every talks about how challenging they are but instead they always talk about how creative you can be within the game. Both Minecraft and The Sims allow you to be infinitely creative in the way you approach and what you do in the game, and that is what has made these games so popular.

    • by Umuri (897961) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:30AM (#42086281)

      I can shed some insight here.
      Minecraft and The Sims are not "hard" in the sense that you will fail a lot.
      Merely that they are hard meaning you start the game with very little understanding in how it works, and then have to master those systems to do what you want.
      As you are placing blocks, you have to deal with resource management, your own life, etc.
      A game does not have to be hard to be challenging. Nor does being hard make a game challenging.

      My favorite example from recent games is one called Demon Souls. Many people say it is hard, and challenging, yet It has one aspect that I love because it perfectly demonstrates the difference between the two, because it is a perfect example of something that is hard, but not a challenge.
      It has what used called an arcade coin-trick. A piece of gameplay put in purely to eat your quarters and lengthen time playing, without adding an equivalent value of fun or different playstyle.

      The challenging part of the game is learning each individual enemy, how they fight, how you can react, etc. You develop actual skills as the game goes on and your proficiency goes up.
      The coin trick is the death and respawn limit. While you can argue it adds a sense of urgency and being careful to the game, one could have done this without such a harsh penalty (loss of all exp, plus time wasted attempting to regain it only to fail at the end). This is an example of a piece of a game that is hard, but not challenging. It is hard because it punishes failure, without adding much extra fun.

      So with this in mind, you can see why minecraft and the sims can be considered challenging in that they engage the mind and thought, without being hard.

    • Creativity itself can be challenging. For example, try and build a complex machine using redstone in minecraft.

      I often find the early gather/survive aspect of Minecraft is the most entertaining. Once you have a safe shelter and the ability to grow your own food, for me the game changes to finding more rare items (diamonds, etc.) and/or improving the looks and/or vastness of your settled property.

      Mods become more important the longer you play, IMO, to keep the game interesting. PvP arenas, mob arenas,

    • by imsabbel (611519)

      I found it hillarious that they used Minecraft and (especially) The Sims as positive examples.

      Both are more or less gameplay free sandboxes that almost completely lack gameplay.

      They are virtual lego and virtual dollhouse, not games!

      • by aXis100 (690904)

        Gee, I wonder why people play them then...

        Maybe it's because sandboxes, lego and dollshouses have emergent gameplay which can be really fun!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I agree that games need to be challenging, but the way in which making things more difficult is implemented matters a lot. For example, I remember that there was a mod for Battlefield 1942 where you could fly modern airplanes and helicopters which was actually kind of challenging. I got a great kick out of making tricky manouvers in those things. Then EA/DICE release Battlefield Vietnam, where the helicopters were basically auto-hovering and required barely any skill at all to fly around - extremely boring

  • Notch is not a God (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Can we please stop circle jerking Notch already?

    Notch made a great concept and everyone bought into it, with promises of much much more, but after about 6 months the updates just stopped, he was too busy doing everything possible but working on Minecraft until he finally gave up the ghost and let Jeb take over, who is trying to keep promises Notch refused to. Notch made a lot of enemies because he went from working with his community to make the game what he promised it to be to going on vacation constantly

    • by lattyware (934246) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:43AM (#42086313) Homepage Journal
      What promises were broken? The Notch hate just seems to be people who imagined a minecraft where you could do literally anything, and were never going to be pleased unless he worked 24/7 on it forever.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        http://i53.tinypic.com/r73yps.png Try reading that image. It will explain a lot of things.

        No one expected unlimited things, but there are a bunch of things promised and missing. Modding, torches burning out, Sky worlds. People aren't out to hate Notch because he is popular, they are annoyed they payed for a game to be developed and then once enough money rolled in he stopped developing it.

  • by Infestedkudzu (2557914) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:30AM (#42086279)
    A few of us still believe in the old prophecy. Some day there will be The One, and he will find a way to take grinding out of video games. And the old times will come back. and we will have games like zelda (nes) and metroid again.
    • Zelda - grinding for rupees. Let's play money making game!

      Metroid - grinding for energy. Those boxes don't fill themselves.

  • Exhibit A: (Score:4, Funny)

    by FridgeFreezer (1352537) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:49AM (#42086331)
    Chess. The graphics aren't great but it's still just about the ultimate game of champions. Beaten only by Gravity Power on the Amiga.
  • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:31AM (#42086441) Journal

    Yes, I said it: nowadays, the CPU and GPU are too powerful, and game designers are hell-bent on 3D and other graphical gimmicks, instead of focusing on gameplay. That's why you'll find much more creative ideas among Android and iOS games. Yes, there's a ton of copy-cat games on the Androis marketplace, but there are a lot of interesting gems.

    Most of the games I play nowadays are 5-10 years old, or they are Android games. It's why I also installed BlueStacks on my PC:

    • by Dunge (922521)
      Like most people. you simply say that because you are afraid and never try new stuff or you don't have the hardware/time to do it. Gameplay is still better in "hell-bent on 3D and graphical gimmicks" games than cellphone games.
      • I have the hardware to run high end games (Radeon 6970 video card, 16GB of RAM, core i5 quad @ 4.8GHz), and I still say that most modern developers aren't at all focused on gameplay. The last AAA title I actually felt was worth the $60 they were asking for it was Civilization 5, which is a game with no story line at all, and infinite replayability. I have played other AAA titles since then, but I've never felt that they were actually worth the price that the vendor was asking for them. Of the several that I

    • You have a point. It's like 3D movies...3D is cool, but 3D movies can't resist shoving things in your face just to make the point that they are 3D. The rest of the movie is often just mediocre. That's why the original Wii was so successful...they didn't go for the best graphics or most powerful processor. Instead, they focused on making it fun to play!

    • by hibiki_r (649814)

      The GPU and CPU are very powerful, but it's a great era for games: Just not $50, $60 games. On PC, the indie scene beats the pants out of most big budget games. And with systems like Steam and Desura, getting those very reasonably priced games is very easy.

    • As someone who loves Android I personally prefer PC games. I like a lot of the 3D stuff out there. And I think for some titles the PC release is the best (compared to a console) due to having better resolution/textures/etc

      Just to name a few: (no particular order)

      Mass Effect 1/2/3
      Dragon Age 1/2
      Portal 1/2
      Half-Life 1/2
      Witcher 2
      Skyrim
      Crysis
      Max Payne 1/2
      Fallout 3
      Starcraft 1/2
      GTA3
      STALKER
      Torchlight 1/2
      Civ (series)
      Bioshock
      Assassin's Creed 2
      FEAR
      Metro 2033
      Singularity

      There's a lot of good stuff that would be hard t

    • Most of the games I play nowadays are 5-10 years old, or they are Android games. I

      Woohoo! I can guess when you were growing up!

  • Long before "gamification" became a buzzword half a decade ago, those developing scientific visualization or modeling & simulation software strove to make their software applications videogame-like, i.e. interactive and engaging. Now "gamification" means incorporating a Pavlovian reward system. Even "gamification" (if we take that to mean broadly the incorporation of videogame features into non-videogame software) has suffered from the declining creativity in videogames.

  • "Fun" is generally a bullshit word people use when they can't narrow down what they're really talking about.

    "The guy who invented Minecraft (Markus "Notch" Persson) didn't just create a giant virtual world in which you could make stuff, he made it challenging. When Will Wright created the Sims, he didn't just make a game about living in a virtual house. He made it difficult to live successfully. That's why both of those franchises have sold millions of copies. The fun factor..."

    Both of those examples sound

  • I asked the same question regarding Angry Birds [slashdot.org] a while ago. If Minecraft was tuned to the max (native code binary, optimized engine), what would be lowest spec hardware you could make it run on? Pentium III?
  • ... allowed movies to be rendered inside videogames and so the game industry now uses hollywood visuals and special fx to attract audiences not the actual gameplay, there's been a shit from playing to watching cut-scenes and what amount to in game quick time events. These are popular with people who aren't very good at videogames (most gamers) hence we've seen gameplay dumbed down and removed over the last 10 years.

    Gameplay is what you can do in a game, most modern games are just an inch away from bots pla

  • Agreed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultrasawblade (2105922) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:40PM (#42087833)

    The pinnacle of game design is the old arcade game Robotron 2084. Here's why:

    - Put in a quarter, game starts. No bullshit story, no waiting 5 minutes for the game to let me do something. Gimme gimme now.
    - Everything is constantly flashing colors. You never saw an 4-bit indexed RRRGGGBB pallette worked so hard. I love that. Fuck realism. Reality sucks.
    - Objective is simple but has an element of depth to it. Shoot anything that moves except humans.
    - This game has two joysticks, one for movement and one for fire. You have unlimited ammunition and can shoot many fast-moving missiles in any direction. Instantly. I don't have to turn around to shoot backwards. Yes.
    - The balance is that you have anywhere from 10 to 100 enemies surrounding you trying to run into you and/or shoot you. So you get to blow up a lot of things. You HAVE to blow up a lot of things.
    - So the game is HARD. The unlimited ammo does not help you as much as you think. You are constantly needing to move and keep one step ahead of everything.
    - Because there are many things attacking you, and shooting at you, you will die a lot. So you HAVE to rescue the humans to earn extra lives.
    - A multiplier is at work when you rescue humans. So the first is 1000, 2000, etc. up to 5000. Starts over when you die. Gives you a LOT of incentive to not just shoot absolutely everything that moves, but keep maneuvering through this always changing morass of robots trying to kill you and humans needing to be saved. Also, due to this, you are always forced to evaluate whether it's better to try to rescue a human or simply let them go. But you must keep an eye on your lives.

    It's really the most engaging game I've ever played. Nothing else comes close to it.
     

  • Reminds me of another article: [cracked.com]

    "Each contingency is an arrangement of time, activity, and reward, and there are an infinite number of ways these elements can be combined to produce the pattern of activity you want from your players."

    Notice his article does not contain the words "fun" or "enjoyment." That's not his field. Instead it's "the pattern of activity you want."

    There's a much simpler way to cut all the bullshit. Just make the game that you want to play. If you think, "Ooh! Wouldn't it be cool if ____?", then do it. There's not a single successful game that didn't start out with that exact phrase (in your language of choice).

    • Also, forgive the self reply, but STOP FOCUSING ON BEING SUCCESSFUL. You don't make that shit happen, it happens on its own. Trying to ensure adoption = lame boring games.

"Gotcha, you snot-necked weenies!" -- Post Bros. Comics

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